High School Gun Clubs in Australia

by Gary Howes
Guns and Gunsmiths Editor

Growing up in Australia many years ago (too many to mention without feeling old) there were many opportunities for a teenager to go shooting. I still fondly remember the instances my father took me shooting, and for six years I was a member of the Australian Army Cadets where I was able to shoot everything from Lee Enfield .303s to Brens, Vickers and even a mortar on one occasion. Under strict supervision of course.

However, these are different times—even here in the USA—and there are now much stricter limits on what a young person can do with regards to firearms. That’s why I was pleased to receive an email from one of our Australian G&G subscribers, Garry Bennett, when I was in Australia earlier this month visiting family.

Garry had invited me to attend a high school shooting match that was being held in Melbourne, Victoria during my visit. Unfortunately time and distance didn’t allow me to accept, but I did ask Garry to send me some more information and photos about this shoot as I was curious to find out first hand just what kind of shooting sport is still available to the Australian youth.

Here is what he sent me (edited for length):

“As you no doubt gather shooting here is no where near as popular as it is in the States and we have much stricter rules on gun ownership and use.  The government would love our sport to die out, I am sure that in regards to things like duck shooting they hope that if not many new people take up the activity and as the older shooters drop out it will have such a poor participation rate that there will be little protest if it is banned.  There are States where it is presently banned and in my State it is a constant yearly battle to have a hunting season.

Sadly even some of our gun clubs have folded due to lack of members.  I saw that the way to keep our sport active was to get as many new young members as possible interested in and active in our sport.  I started up a Clay Target Shooting Club at my School  (I forgot to mention that I am a school teacher).  Thankfully my school board was supportive of the idea and then after some years I wanted to give my students an opportunity for a bit of a competitive shooting.

Winning Team Gippsland Grammar

I started up an Inter School Clay Target competition. In comparison to what you probably have in the states the 150 or so students that I get at my event is fairly good.  I do have students from my state; Victoria and 2 neighbouring States attend the one day event.  For a bit of variety the event is a medley of DTL (Down-The-Line—a popular variation of Trap in several countries, including Australia—editor), Skeet and 5 Stand and the total score determines the winners.

We are actually hoping to have students from New Zealand come over next year.  If there are any High School students from the States in the area on Thursday 2nd of May 2019 they would be welcome to attend.  We were lucky to get one of our Federal Senators; Senator Bridget McKenzie attend our event this year to present prizes.  The Senator is an active shooter and a great supporter of shooting, she is also our Federal Sports Minister.  Sadly politicians in Australia that openly support our sport are as rare as rocking horse poop.

The activity has been successful in achieving some of my goals, probably close to 200 students have gained their shooters licence and a high percentage of them have maintained an interest after leaving school.  A large number of parents have joined the club and got their licence and started shooting as well (students under 18 cannot have a gun, it has to be owned by a parent who has to get their own licence and it is a requirement that they are a member of a club to own a firearm)  Two of my students have represented Australia in International Competition and 5 others have won State and National competitions.  I have enclosed a few pictures of the event for your interest.”

 

Anna Shedrina, Jasmyn Kent & Senator McKenzie

Group Photograph of winners with Anna and Senator McKenzie

Adrian Van Putten Lilydale High School with Anna Shedrina and Senator McKenzie

Darcy Lloyd Lilydale High School with Anna Shedrina and Senator McKenzie

The Senator shooting a couple of targets whilst 2 young competitors look on.

Senator McKenzie is a politician I would definitely support if I still lived in Australia!

Congratulations to Garry Bennett and others for taking the initiative to bring shooting sports to young Australians that might otherwise not have the opportunity. And also a thank you to Senator Bridget McKenzie (Minister for Sport, the Minister for Rural Health, and the Minister for Regional Communications and a cabinet member). It makes me proud to see fellow Australians like these that have not given up the fight for gun rights and still have the desire to see these values passed on to the younger generations.

 

 


6 Responses to High School Gun Clubs in Australia

  1. Deeply saddens me the lengths these people have to go to exercise what is a constitutional right here. The flip side I applaud their perseverance in the face of an oppressive government. For that good on ’em. Pay attention boys and girls! This is what you will get if you keep kneeling to “reasonable” gun law changes. Study your history.

  2. I grew in a backward area; the town was poor, but we had great schools. We did not have a rifle club, but on the opening day of dear season, half of the boys in school were absent.

  3. Really hate to see such strict gun laws as the people have allowed to have enacted. Thank you so much for working with the kids to get them interested in safely shooting. Our children are the only hope we have. They are being brainwashed here all too often. Take care of them.

    • I second that. And also teach them to be responsible and think for themselves. That’s one thing shooting at an early age taught me. It taught me to think and be responsible.

  4. I laud you copiously Mr. Bennett with everything you have done to preserve Australia’s gun rights.

    Such a needless uphill climb that all the bureaucratic impediments impose towards responsible, law abiding citizens and the like.

    I thought Canada had it bad with our current anti-gun government (Trudeau admin), well we do, but fortunately not as unfortunate as Australia. I feel for them.

    Proud of what you have done Sir! Keep on with it all buddy.

    Cheers from Dana in Canada, ‘eh.

  5. This could happen here in our USA. The xxxx you elect election after election are not in government to help you or cater to our US Constitution. They spend their time creating their idea of how we the people are to honor them and obey them. These are your servants and there is no sane reason to ever elect any of them more then once.

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